Japan’s foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has increased ten-fold, while its two-way trade with the bloc has risen 2.4 times over the past ten years.

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh expressed his impression at the remarkable outcomes during his reception for Chairman of the Japanese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Akio Mimura in Jakarta , Indonesia .

Minh was quoted in the February 5 press release issued by the ASEAN Secretariat that he welcomed the heightened interest of the Japanese business community in ASEAN engendered by the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

He stated that ASEAN and Japan have celebrated over 40 years of bilateral friendship and cooperation. Over the past four decades, Japan has made significant contributions to the ASEAN Community’s building efforts which have further promoted peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Minh encouraged the JCCI to work with ASEAN small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on enhancing business partnerships and furthering trade and investment ties.

Akio Mimura showed the JCCI’s interest in ASEAN initiatives, including the Open Skies Policy; the ASEAN free trade agreements (FTA); and the bloc’s post-2015 vision.

He also emphasised the need for closer and multi-dimensional socio-economic ties between the two sides through trade, investment, public-private dialogue and people-to-people relationship.

Japan is currently the third biggest trade partner of ASEAN, with bilateral trade amounting to 240.8 billion USD in 2013. It is the second largest source of FDI inflows to the group with 22.9 billion USD, accounting for 18.7 percent of the total FDI to the bloc.-VNA